Julian Casablancas goes pretty much everywhere in an interview with Vulture.
During the conversation, published Monday, the Strokes frontman shares his thoughts on what’s wrong with the music industry, and it involves pop superstar Ed Sheeran.
In the article, Casablancas bemoans the fact that lo-fi musician Ariel Pink isn’t as popular as Sheeran. When interviewer David Marchese, who also conducted that epic viral interview with legendary producer Quincy Jones, suggests it makes sense that Sheeran would be more popular than a cult artist like Pink, Casablancas replies, “Everything you’re saying sounds 100 percent like cultural brainwashing.”
“If you grew up in a world where Ariel Pink was popular then you would say ‘I don’t see how Ed Sheeran can be popular,'” Casablancas says.
“I’m not trying to diss Ed Sheeran or any pop star,” he continues. “Ed Sheeran seems like a nice, cool guy and I have nothing against his music. Let him sell a billion records. I’m just saying I don’t understand why there can’t be a world where Ed Sheeran gets 60 percent of the attention and Ariel Pink gets 40 percent. Now it’s almost like Ed Sheeran gets 99.5 percent of it. The creative bands have been pushed so far into the margins.”
Casablancas also says that Jimi Hendrix wasn’t that popular in his lifetime, and claims the guitar icon “didn’t have hits.” When Marchese points out that Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland was a number-one album, Casablancas replies, “From what I’ve seen, I thought he had never had any commercial success.”
Though he has many thoughts about the music industry, Casablancas says he’s actually “much more interested in politics than music.”
If you’d like to hear his music, his new album Virtue, recorded with his band The Voidz, will be released March 30.
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